The skies at around lunchtime had turned grey and the rain began to fall steadily as I headed out of the flat. By the time I hit Hackney Downs Park, the strength of the wind and rain had increased but I was anticipating gaps in the showers that broke as I arrived at the Middlesex Filter Beds.
The skies cleared, and the sound of a 'crest' had me scampering toward the relief channel, the bird was seen flying into the holly bush and disappeared altogether. A probable Firecrest, but one that got away. There were at least six Chiffchaff here and a few nervous Little Grebe close in to the opposite bank.
Around a dozen Meadow Pipit took flight as I made my way through the old Pitch and Putt, a Chiffchaff called from bushes alongside the overflow, and two pairs of Gadwall were dabbling by the bridge.
At the Waterworks, six Stock Dove fed in the cowless cow field. Teal were abundant on the water with at least 54 counted, four Shoveler and nine Tufted Duck.
Nothing new for the patch yearlist so far, so it was onto the Walthamstow Marsh for Linnet maybe, and maybe a lucky stab at a Kingfisher. The front paddocks held four Fieldfare and a dozen Redwing with the lonesome and evidently confused Little Egret plodding around in some kind of sombre post-Christmas malaise.
No Linnet, no Kingfisher, nothing on the rear paddocks. This was getting desperate.
Until wading shin-deep in the flooded marsh, a female Pheasant bolted out of the brush and ran head down and rather comically into the reeds. Shortly after - and a rather stoic and foolish detour along the edge of the reedbed was rewarded with four Common Snipe that shot out from the damp margins.
A couple of Meadow Pipit rounded things off.